Nebraska Extension Gives Tips for Holiday Cooking with the Kids

Nebraska Extension is encouraging parents to let their children help with holiday cooking over the holiday vacation to teach them basic food preparation skills. NE Extension gives a list of benefits to spending time preparing food with kids:

Cooking Builds Confidence. Helping in the kitchen builds early skills of independence. Most kids feel proud and important when they help prepare food. Children feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family.

Cooking Teaches. Kitchen tasks give children a chance to measure, count and see food change, which is a great introduction to math and science learning. Children can learn new words and symbols by cooking with adults. Read words together on recipes and food containers. Cleanup teaches responsibility.

Children may try new and healthy foods. Children engage in tactile experiences, such as handling foods, have less food neophobia (food fear) and greater acceptance of eating a variety of foods.

Cooking together is fun family time. Kitchen time offers a special opportunity in parenting. Cooking together creates closer bonds and lifelong memories. It gives parents and children time together to talk and share thoughts and stories. Preparing food is also an occasion to spend some time away from electronic screens.

When it comes to cooking, safety always comes first especially with kids. It is encouraged to talke about being safe in the kitchen before getting started. Here are some safety rules to discuss before starting food preparation.

  1. Always begin with handwashing and cleaning food preparation surfaces like countertops and tables.
  2. Fasten long hair back.
  3. Taste with a clean spoon. A licked spoon goes into the sink or dishwasher, not back in the bowl.
  4. Be cautious around hot surfaces, sharp knives and certain kitchen utensils. An adult needs to help and supervise.
  5. Resist nibbling cookie dough, cake batter or any food containing raw egg or uncooked flower.
  6. Wipe up spills immediately.

No mater if meals take longer to prepare or quickly, it is always worth letting a child help in the kitchen. Start with small projects and keep it fun. Remember to have patience while working with children and always expect spills. Spending time in the kitchen with children can foster an interest in food and cooking that will last for life.


SOURCES:
Nebraska Extension
Let's Cook Together, USDA's Nibbles for Health Newsletter from Team Nutrition:
https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/Nibbles_Newsletter_31.pdf
Cooking with Kids in Schools: Why it is Important, eXtension.org:
http://articles.extension.org/pages/73371/cooking-with-kids-in-schools;-why-it-is-important

Nebraska Extension

Let's Cook Together, USDA's Nibbles for Health Newsletter from Team Nutrition:https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/Nibbles_Newsletter_31.pdf

Cooking with Kids in School